There's a certain creepiness to wax museums. That's probably why so many people are drawn to Madame Tussauds locations around the world. Yes, they're cheesy tourist traps, but sometimes you just can't help yourself.
1. MADAME ANNA MARIA TUSSAUD (A.K.A. MARIE) WAS A REAL PERSON.
Her mother served as the housekeeper for Dr. Philippe Curtius, who made wax models to illustrate anatomy. She picked up the trade from him. You can see Madame Tussaud in her own museum: She did her own portrait in wax just eight years before she died at the ripe old age of 89 (reports of her age at death vary).
2. SHE ENDED UP BECOMING MORE FAMOUS FOR HER WORK THAN HER MENTOR.
Her work was so well-known that she was invited to be part of the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette so she could teach art to the king's sister. The sad part? Madame Tussaud ended up making her former employers' death masks after they were executed in the French Revolution.
3. THEY ONCE FEATURED A LIVE MODEL.
In 2010, Ozzy Osbourne posed as himself and gave unsuspecting visitors quite a scare. (Check it out here.)
4. ONE MUSEUM WAS HIT BY GERMAN BOMBS.
In 1940, Madame Tussauds of London was hit by German bombs. More than 350 head molds were destroyed.
5. A HITLER STATUE DIDN'T STAY INTACT VERY LONG.
In 2008, a German man rushed past security on the opening day of the Berlin Madame Tussauds and ripped Hitler's head off. A sign asked people to refrain from posing with or taking pictures of the statue, but didn't specify that decapitation was prohibited as well. "It disturbs me that Hitler should become a tourist attraction," the attacker said.
6. SOME PEOPLE HAVE DECLINED TO BE HONORED WITH A STATUE. MOTHER TERESA WAS ONE OF THEM.
Madame Tussauds wanted to make a figure of Mother Teresa, but she told them no—one of the only people to ever do so. She insisted that her works were more important than her physical being.
7. IT TAKES ABOUT 150 MEASUREMENTS FOR THE ARTISTS AT MADAME TUSSAUDS TO CREATE A GOOD LIKENESS OF THE PERSON THEY'RE PORTRAYING.
Sometimes famous people sit for measurements more than once. Queen Elizabeth, for example, has modeled for a variety of different poses over the years.
8. ALL FIGURES ARE MADE TWO PERCENT LARGER THAN THE PERSON REALLY IS.
That's how much the wax is expected to shrink throughout the entire process.
9. THE SMALLEST WAX FIGURE MADAME TUSSAUDS HAS EVER MADE IS TINKERBELL.
They do occasionally do figures of fiction—other than Tinkerbell, they've also made wax figures of Shrek, the Burger King, and the Incredible Hulk.
10. THERE’S NO APOSTROPHE IN MADAME TUSSAUDS.
The grammar geek in you might wonder why the museum isn't referred to as Madame Tussaud's, with an apostrophe. Though it may look weird, Merlin Entertainment Group decided that since Madame Tussaud no longer actually owns the franchise, there's really no need for the possessive-indicating apostrophe. So they simply got rid of it.